Find out what’s on in Saitama this weekend with the best Saitama event list on the web. If its on in Saitama, its on insaitama.com!
**During the 2021 State of Emergency and Coronavirus Outbreak, events are subject to change and cancellation at a moment’s notice. Please do always check with the official website for any last minute changes or cancellations.**
Ashigakubo Icicles 2021
January 8, 2021 @ 08:00 – February 23, 2021 @ 17:00
The Ashigakubo Icicles in 2021. The icicles are generally open to the public from the first week in January to the last week in February. In 2020 due to warmer than normal weather the icicles were severely effected and the event ended up starting late and ending early. However, the 2020 / 2021 winter appears to be colder than most and at this moment in time they plan to go ahead. On December 15th, the official site released the dates of the 2021 icicles; Friday January 8th to bank holiday Tuesday February 23rd 2021. However, due to the State of Emergency, they will not be lighting up the icicles on Fridays. More below.
The icicles were only discovered five years ago, but already they are attracting lots of visitors and lots of attention. They are not entirely natural – the locals help to create the scene in collaboration with Mother Nature! One of the icicles is 200 meters high and 30 meters wide.
On account of the Coronavirus the organizers are requesting that for the 2021 icicles people stay no longer than one hour. They also request that you wear a mask and refrain from talking. Furthermore, the (free) provision of tea and amazake is suspended in 2021 in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Update: January 10th. Further to the confirmation of a State of Emergency, this year there will be no light up on Friday nights. Also, the lights will be turned off at 6.30 pm and you must exit the site by 7 pm.
Moreover, if you want to visit on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday between 1 and 7 pm you need to make an advance reservation. (Currently you can only book for January. February booking will start from January 5th). Tickets cost 300 yen per person.
On January 30th, 31st, February 6th and 7th they have special events. They will have projection mapping and a live performance. However, due to the State of Emergency those events will now be finishing at 6 pm and you must exit the area by 6.45 pm. Ticket on these nights cost 500 yen each for both adults and children. However, children under school going age (six years old).
The dates for viewing the Ashigakubo icicles in 2021 are Friday January 8th until Tuesday February 23rd, which is a public holiday in celebration of the Emperor’s birthday. During that period, they light up the icicles on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Normally they light them up from about 4 pm and they say the best viewing of the light up is around 5.30 pm during January and after 6 pm in February. However, in 2021 it seems that they won’t turn the lights on until 6 pm.
The lights stay on until 8 pm, but you can not enter the site after 7.30 pm. During the State of Emergency the lights will be turned off at 6.30 pm. The icicles are absolutely stunning lit up at night.
The three great icicles of Chichibu
Ashigakubo Icicles are just one of “three great icicles of Chichibu”. The other two are Misotsuchi and Onouchi Icicles. Misotsuchi are the only completely natural icicles of all three. Although all three are in the Chichibu area, they are very far apart. It takes about an hour to get from one to the other. But if you are travelling by car you can in theory visit all three icicles in the same day.
Ashigakubo Icicles Access
The location is easier to get to than the better known Misotsuchi Icicles in neighbouring Chichibu, as unlike Misotsuchi these icicles are located relatively close to a train station. The Ashigakubo station, which is on the Seibu Chichibu Line, is about a 15 minute walk from the icicles. Google MAP and contacts in the grey details box at the bottom of the post.
Japan Travel have a detailed and enthusiastic report of an outing to the icicles (
I have no affiliation to this website When I first wrote about the icicles I had no affiliation, but I do write for Japan Travel now! I linked this article before I worked for them).
First published in January 2017, republished December 2017, November 2018, October 2019, April 2020. Last update December 17th 2020.
Onouchi Hyakkei Icicles
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Events by their very nature are tentative. Please do check with the official sources for any last minute changes due to weather or other mitigating factors, particularly with the current Coronavirus outbreak.